My name is Margaret Rohde (“Magic” for short) and I’m the staff Naturalist for the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (WVWA). WVWA is membership-based, non-profit conservation organization made up of amazing people who are passionate about preserving and protecting natural areas in Southeastern Pennsylvania. All told, over 1,300 acres have been saved from development and degradation over the last 58 years since the Association’s founding, and we are focused on maintaining, restoring, and re-wilding that land as wildlife habitat for the many species that depend upon it.
In recent years, WVWA has been working to increase its role in avian research and conservation, which is something I am pretty excited about – that has been my area of interest since 2011, when I first began doing field work. Much of my experience lies in collecting data for research projects centered on monitoring bird populations and measuring their responses to habitat management. Which is why I am extremely excited to share with you all that WVWA will be running a small-scale bird banding station on one of our preserves this spring and summer! The station will operate as part of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program, created by the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP) – a nonprofit based in Point Reyes, California, dedicated to research on the abundance, distribution, and ecology of birds. The MAPS program was created in response to bird population declines, and seeks to understand the factors that influence their survival and productivity over time. It is an intercontinental demographic project, to which WVWA is now a proud contributor!
By banding breeding birds on one of our preserves, we hope to determine what, if any, changes occur in the population following habitat restoration, and to monitor how land use and property management may affect birds over time. This will be a long-term project, and the data collected will help guide our management decisions for years to come. This is the pilot year of our MAPS station, and we want to share our experience with you! I will be out banding about one day each week until the beginning of August (with the help of a few trusty volunteers). Each day we’ll try to snap some pictures to share with you, and I’ll keep you updated on what we’re catching, and any other interesting, bird-related things that come to pass!
Check back soon for another post. 🙂